Tonight in Toronto the NHL will host its annual award ceremony (viewable on NHL Network in the US). One goalie award is already known as Dominik Hasek and Chris Osgood will share the Jennings Trophy for best goals against average. The real goalie award is the Vezina, which will go to Martin Brodeur, Henrik Lundqvist or Evgeni Nabokov. For Brodeur a win would be his fourth (in five seasons); for Lundqvist or Nabokov it would be their first. As with any subjective award there are two ways to predict the winner… who should win it and who will win it.
How about a quick look at their statistics for the season (I’ve included playoff success even though the award is voted upon at the end of the regular season):
Osgood is finally starting to receive some of the overdue respect that is clearly due to him. But really, how could hockey writers possibly say anything negative about him now, even if they wanted to? Pretty easily apparently! In his on-ice interview before the Cup was presented, NBC’s Pierre McGuire started off by pointing out (again) that Osgood was supposed to be a backup and after acknowledging the obvious, i.e. that Osgood was now a Cup-winning starter, McGuire increduously asked “how did that happen?”
Will another Stanley Cup rid Chris Osgood of his Rodney Dangerfield reputation? Will a first Stanley Cup get Marc-Andre Fleury invited to Team Canada’s Olympic squad in 2010? Hopefully the answer to each question is ‘yes’. Will one of these two accept the Conn Smythe trophy as the playoff MVP? Odds are that answer will be no, although each has played well enough to lay claim to it.
12 of the 42 Conn Smythe winners have been goalies, and in two cases (Ron Hextall in 1987 and Jean-Sebastien Giguere in 2003) came despite losing the finals. 1-in-4 odds aren’t bad but certaintly aren’t enough to simply bet on the best goalie in the finals. Each time the Conn Smythe has been won by a goalie its come from a dominating performance that simply couldn’t be ignored. Continue reading
My part-time attempts at writing a goalie blog simply cannot even be compared to the columns of veteran hockey writer Michael Farber so rather than expand upon his article about Chris Osgood I’m just going to send you to his Sports Illustrated column.
But first I do have to explain the title of this post. Osgood currently ranks 15th in all-time career wins, and 4th amongst active goalies. I had no idea! Barring a career-ending injury (Osgood is 35 years old) it is completely reasonable for Osgood to move from his current number of 363 wins to 447, the number of wins by Terry Sawchuk who sits 5th on the career list. A spot in the top 10 feels like a lock (knock on wood Ozzie).